Table of Contents
Human resource management is a critical function for the success of any organization. The human resource department must ensure that there is availability of adequate manpower, skills and talent, and the environment that can facilitate the realization of the organization's objectives (Mayo, 2012). Therefore, the human resource department has to recruit and train employees. It has to manage the work environment, as well as solve disputes between employees (Aswathappa, 2013). The department must also conduct appraisals of employees’ performance and the organization manpower needs. Finally, it can be a powerful public relations tool. The failure of the human resource department to meet its obligation results in poor performance of the organization (Othmana & Suleimanb, 2013). The quality of services reduces, which leads to low customer satisfaction.
Health care institutions in the UAE experience a number of challenges with regard to human resource management. The human resource challenges usually affect health care service delivery in many hospitals (Hannawi & Al Salmi, 2014). Many patients who attend the health care institutions usually receive unsatisfactory services and some of them switch hospital in search of better treatment. The greatest challenge most healthcare institutions face is recruiting the appropriate employees with corresponding knowledge, skills, and talent. The current case study will focus on the challenges Al Qassimi Hospital encounters in recruiting new employees. Al Qassimi Hospital is the largest government hospital in Sharjah. The hospital was established in 1991 with the aim of providing high quality healthcare services that serve the needs, as well as expectations of the people of Sharjah and the UAE region. It serves a tertiary referral hospital for the northern emirates and has a total bed capacity of 365 beds. The hospital operates with a total of 800 employees who comprise 388 nurses, 189 qualified doctors, 171 paramedical staff, and 52 administrative staff. The institution’s human resource management department has six sections demarcated to handle various important activities involved in managing the human resources. The sections include training and development, attendance and leaves, recruitment, retentions and performance appraisal. However, the department faces enormous challenge of recruiting employees. First, the employees in the department are not qualified, since none of them has necessary qualifications to work in a human resource management department. As a result, the human resource function at the institution is poorly performed. There are many complaints regarding the service deliver by the HR department. Moreover, the poor services affect the morale of rest of the staff and influence their service delivery to patients. The institution does not have a proper HR strategy, as well as a proper HR plan. As a result, the organization consistently fails to predict future human resource needs. The second greatest challenge is connected to the recruitment process. The institution lacks a plan or strategy for hiring qualified and experienced employees. The hospital randomly hires employees, especially for administrative positions. Most of the jobs are given to the people who are not qualified because new employees are hired depending on their relation with the existing ones. The current employees suggest and employee their friends and relative regardless of their qualifications.
Analysis and Literature Review
Al Qassimi Hospital faces HR challenges because it has poor HR practices. Sound HR practices are critical for effective operation of professional healthcare institutions (Batt & Cloving, 2011). The role of HR management in solving recruitment and retention problems in different institutions cannot be underestimated. In a cross-sectional study of human resource managers in 61 Lebanese hospitals, El-Jardeli, Tchaghchagin & Jamal (2009) describe the challenges of poor HR practices in hospitals. With a survey that comprised of both closed and open-end questions El-Jardeli, Tchaghchagin & Jamal (2009) studied the feedbacks of 96 respondents from the 61 hospitals that participated. The study used questions regarding the background, demographics, work experience, perceived challenges, and key HR strategies they used. The quantitative data was subjected to univariate analysis, while the qualitative data from the open-ended equations was subjected to thematic analysis. Their results indicated that the ability to retain employees was cited more frequently (56.7%), next the absence of qualified personnel was indicated (35.1%), while poor evaluation or lack of an evaluation system took the third position (28.9%). In their study, El-Jardeli, Tchaghchagin & Jamal (2009) asked the HR managers on the best strategies that could be used to mitigate the challenges. 19.6% of the respondent stated continuing education and training as the best strategy for handling the challenges. At the same time, 14.4% cited improving salaries, while 10.3% cited retention of strategies as the solution.
El-Jardeli, Tchaghchagin & Jamal’s (2009) findings clearly indicate the importance of HR management techniques. Having competent human resource managers and staff who can fully assume the role of human resource management is important for healthcare institutions. Recognizing challenges and finding solutions should be the main priority of the HR managers (Mehrjerdi, 2011; Dhar, 2008). A mismatch between strategies and the challenges cannot improve the current situation. At present, there are no strategies at Al Qassimi Hospital to handle the human resource challenges.
Lack of priorities of HR issues can also affect human resources development. Al Qassimi Hospital does not have HR department priorities in place. Lack of priority can negatively affect the service delivery by the HR department. It results in an imbalance in supply of HR services within the organization (Abdesabour & Ravand, 2013; Khaef & Khoshbakht, 2012). For instance, it can result in an imbalance in supply and demand of employees within the organization. There may be more employees whose skills are required in some sections, while other may experience acute shortages. Problems resulting from lack of priorities usually develop over a long period of time and pose great challenges that need to be solved once they become sstemic. Lack of coherent policies is another challenge that many healthcare organizations face (Agarwal, Garg & Pareek, 2011). Al Qassimi Hospital has no clear HR polices, as well. As long as the existing systems are perceived to work, most organizations do not prioritize development of proper HR policies. Similarly, the organization prioritizes planning. Most institutions consider human resource planning as a linear process with a beginning and an ending. However the HR planning is a continuous process that has a cyclic nature (Elarabi & Johari, 2014). One phase of planning leads to the next phase. Consequently, poor perception and approach leads to insufficient planning and affects the capacity of the management to plan (Surendra et al, 2010; Lunenburg, 2012; Anyim, Ekwoaba & Anthony, 2012).
The hiring process at the hospital violates various ethical principles. The members of the human resource department consistently hire relative and friends. The practices of nepotism and fraternization have negatively affected the HR department. For example, nepotism results in many challenges in recruiting and promoting new employees, with favoritism being one of them (Pang Fu, 2015). In an organization where nepotism and fraternization are frequently practiced, there is a poor planning for recruitment processes (Nadeem, 2015; Karakose, 2014). The organizations rarely take into account their employment needs. It is the main reason why the organizations rarely have the necessary manpower at the right time, which makes service delivery a challenge. In an organization, such as Al Qassimi Hospital, failure to plan the recruitment of employees means that there are no proper new employees for completing their tasks. Employees are proposed by the existing staff and hired even when there is no need to hire them. Additionally, employees may be hired because they are proposed by someone known to the department. The qualifications of new staff members are not taken into consideration.
Planned recruitment ensures that the organization hires the best people (Lunenburg, 2012). However, the best people may not necessarily be the ones with the most impressive credentials. On the other hand, it does not mean that credentials should be ignored during the hiring process. Credentials play a critical role in determining the ability of an employee to play the role he/she is being hired to undertake. Likewise, the best employees may not be those that are the most likeable or those that have much common with the management or the already existing employees. The best employees to hire must be those who are ready and willing to give maximum commitment to their duties and deliver the necessary objectives. The interest in performing their duties should not be motivated by the desire to please the management or the desire to keep their jobs, but in the understanding that what they are doing is important and ought to be handled seriously. The employees should be able to collaborate with others in teams, generate new ideas, perform tasks independently, as well as respect authority. Such employees can show their respect to authority through consulting or seeking clarification from the appropriate people by undertaking certain tasks or making critical decisions to avoid causing problems. In general, they are the kind of employees that can be trusted and relied upon.
The most important questions recruiters need to answer are: how to find professional employees? How can they be identified from the thousands of applicants who apply for the same jobs? Additionally, it is important to find out how such employees can be hired and given the corresponding training to ensure that they perform the jobs they are hired to do with the maximum efficiency.
Such questions sound simple. However, it can be very challenging to answer them. it is caused by the fact that diffident recruiters have different perception towards the hiring process. Consequently, if the questions receive correct answers, it means that the recruitment team has implemented a proper recruitment process. For such reason, it is always wise to conduct recruitment using teams formulated specifically to conduct such kind of activity.
In order to perform the recruitment process in the best possible manner, it is important for an organization to develop a proper guideline to lead the hiring process, recruits orientation, and training (Kumari, 2012). In addition to hiring professional employees, developing proper guidelines for the recruitment process plays a critical function for the organization. First, the way employees are recruited and trained will influence their perception about the organization. In turn, it influences the way they feel in the long term, as well as how they treat their jobs (Schumacher, Grigsby, & Vesey, 2015). Planning the hiring process ensures that the recruiters follow the organizations’ philosophy, mission, and vision. Subsequently, the hiring and training will reflect the organization philosophy and objectives (Schumacher, Grigsby, & Vesey, 2015). Third, the guidelines reduce the hiring challenges by making the hiring process and training simpler. Fourth, developing proper hiring guidelines can help reduce cases of favoritism and nepotism and further develop the seriousness and professionalism in the origination. It the long run, the guideline can help reduce cases and accusation of employment regulations violation and thus, prevent lawsuits from rejected applicants. Finally, the best outcome of developing guidelines for the hiring process and preparing for it is that it will be easier to identify the right candidate for the job and provide him or her with corresponding training to handle the job (Ullah, 2010).
When developing the hiring guideline, it is important to take into account the personnel that will conduct the hiring process. A new organization has different requirements as compared to Al Qassimi Hospital, which is an already established organization. Al Qassimi Hospital has been operating for some time and only issue that requires revision is the current recruitment process. It will help ensure that the Hospital recruits only the best employees. The recruitment process involves hiring new staff for already existing position and it is conducted by other staff or Board members (Harvard Business School, 2013). Developing the guideline should be delegated to a carefully selected committee. One member of the committee maay be tasked with developing the first draft and the rest may be tasked with deliberating it, suggesting changes and additions. Numerous revisions can be made on the first draft until all committee members find it acceptable. It is important to determine how inclusive the development process should be. Some external factors may affect how the guidelines are developed. For instance, influence from unions, affirmative action, and labor laws. Financiers, such as the government, are also expected to make suggestions regarding the institution to enforce public hiring regulations and processes.
Additionally, it is helpful to use external help when developing recruitment guideline and procedure. It may involve hiring the services of outsourcing firm consultants. There are many outsourcing firm that provide recruitment service on behalf of other companies. Once a proper policy and guidelines are implemented, the hospital can hire another firm to conduct the recruitment in order to reduce the influence of the hospital personnel.
After considering the persons that will conduct the recruitment process it is important to take outline what people the organization needs as members of its staff. It involves developing the criteria for the person taking into account personal qualities, skills, passion, commitment, and demographic characteristics (Arthur, 2012). The main objective is to recruit a person who will blend well within the organization. In addition, it is important to determine the nature of employment, for instance, whether it will be a part time or full time employment. It is also necessary to establish the benefits that the successful candidates stand to receive as staff members.
It is necessary to have a clear picture of how the hiring process will look like. It includes developing the job descriptions, selection criteria, interview process, the timeline, strategy on how to find the candidates, stages of the interview, methods on how to notify successful candidates, how to notify the unsuccessful candidates, and how to evaluate the entire process.
Focus Group Discussion
A focus group discussion comprising employees from the hospital was held to give the staff members opportunity to point out and discus the challenge faced by the human resource department. A total of ten employees drawn from different departments from the hospital participated in the discussion. Staff from the human resource department also participated in the event. The moderator led the focus group discussion using carefully developed questions. The questions guided the participants to discuss the problems in the recruitment process performed by the human resource department. They also discussed the possible solutions to challenges.
The focus group identified lack of a proper human resource management plan in the department, which resulted in shortage of human resources at certain instances, as well as recruitment of new employee in areas when there was no need for additional personnel. The HR managers did not have appropriate job descriptions for the positions in the departments, as well as for the various managerial positions throughout the organization. The employees complained of poor service delivery. The workers of the human resource department handled their requests with little attention and for a long period of time. In some instance, the requests handled were not the ones the employees had requested for. Participants from the human resource department acknowledged that they recruited relatives and friend of the existing member and, as a result, their professionalism, knowledge, and skills were rarely taken into account. Applicants suggested by the exiting staff members were usually recruited without undergoing vetting or interviews. As a result, the department does not have any recruitment procedure or guidelines.
The participants supported the idea of outsourcing employee recruitment services from recruiting firms in order to minimize the influence of the personnel in the human resource department. Alternatively, the human resource department should initiate penalties against nepotism and cronyism to ensure that the favoritism will not be practiced in the future.
The participants of the focus group discussion noted that change in the human resource department would result in improved employee satisfaction throughout the entire hospital. The department needed to change its recruitment process in order to hire the professional people who will serve the clients properly. There is a need for a proper plan on how to manage human resources.
Based on the information from the hospital and the focus group discussions, it is evident the human resource department at Al Qassimi Hospital is performing poorly. The department is not in the position to serve the hospital’s staff. It is largely consists of unqualified staff due to poor employee recruitment practices. It makes a poor recruitment practice the main challenge to the department. Moreover, the employees in the department do not have any experience of work in the spheres of human resources management, since they are usually hired without proper recruitment process. In the department, the employees who are usually recruited are relatives or friends of the existing staff. There are evident traces of cronyism, nepotism, and favoritism in the recruitment process. As a result, more deserving candidates are usually sacrificed in order to reserve the positions for the relatives and friends of the recruiters or other influential persons in the departments. In addition, there is no effort to train new recruits on how to handle the responsibilities they are being hired for. It results in low quality performance of their tasks in the departments. In addition, cronyism, favoritism, and nepotism make it very difficult to manage employees as they know that they can easily avoid punishment for misconduct or underperformance as there is always someone at the department who will support them and defend their position. In such way, the employees provide low quality services in the hospital, which lowers their moral and job satisfaction. Subsequently, the poorly motivated employees do not perform their duties to the expected extent when serving patients, which, in its turn, results in low patients’ satisfaction.